Starbucks plans to open first location in downtown Spartanburg

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Seattle-based coffee retailer Starbucks plans to open a new store at 156 W. Main St. in downtown Spartanburg.

Starbucks will apparently join downtown Spartanburg’s food and beverage scene.

A banner bearing the Seattle-based coffee giant’s logo and the words “Coming Soon” was placed Thursday, Dec. 7, above the doorway of a space at 156 W. Main St. beside TJC Gallery near Morgan Square.

The nearly 1,800-square-foot space has sat vacant since March, when its previous tenant Pink on Main relocated to 115 W. Main St.

“We’re excited to share that we are in the early stages of bringing a location to downtown Spartanburg, and we anticipate an opening next spring,” Starbucks said Thursday in a statement. “We’re looking forward to being part of the community and will have further details to share as we get closer to the store’s opening.”

Property records showed the building is owned by South Phifer Properties, an affiliate of Spartanburg-based Johnson Development Associates.

Geordy Johnson, CEO of Johnson Development, said he was not at liberty to discuss specific details about the project, but said he is excited about the momentum building in downtown.

“Johnson Development is very excited about Starbucks’ plans to open a store in downtown Spartanburg,” Johnson said. “It is an iconic brand that will be a positive addition to our rapidly growing downtown.”

Among downtown Spartanburg’s assemblage of dining and retail establishments, Starbucks would only be the third national or global chain in the mix.

The Subway restaurant at 156 Magnolia St. and Abbott’s Frozen Custard at 100 E. Main St. are the only two currently present.

Starbucks will have to compete with Spartanburg-based Little River Roasting Co.’s Coffee Bar, a popular local gathering spot, just down the street at 188 W. Main St.

Abram and Heather Curtis, owners of the Greenville-based coffeehouse/creamery concept Spill the Beans, plan to open a new store in spring 2018 in a 2,500-square-foot space on the ground floor of the Aug W. Smith Building at 174 E. Main St. near Denny’s Plaza.

Jansen Tidmore, executive vice president of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s new Downtown Development Partnership, said he believes there is room in the market for locally owned establishments and an international outfit like Starbucks.

Tidmore said he views the project as a positive for downtown.

“With the new AC Hotel attracting a range of business and leisure travelers to downtown, Starbucks will allow us to serve more people,” Tidmore said. “This won’t gobble up the pie. It will grow the pie. I think both models will be sustainable and they will be able to feed off of each other.”

Passersby stopped to take photos of the banner with their cellphones on Thursday. Most appeared excited to see the Starbucks brand appear in downtown.

“When an international company like Starbucks decides to plant its flag anywhere, I think it’s a sign that they believe in the market,” said Denise Mehl, co-owner of The Crepe Factory at 137 W. Main St. “Obviously, Starbucks sees the potential in downtown Spartanburg. We are pleased with the momentum in the community and hopeful that it will continue move in a positive direction.”

Starbucks has three stand-alone locations in Spartanburg County, including its recently remodeled original Spartanburg store at 805 N. Pine St., a store at 210 W. Blackstock Road across from WestGate Mall, and a store at 1513 E. Main St. in Duncan.

A fourth store is under construction beside the Popeyes’ Louisiana Kitchen off Highway 9 in Boiling Springs.

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